Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Never A Dull Moment

When you live with a kindergartener there is really not any day that goes by that you don't have a good laugh. Sometimes those laugh are born out of a need to do something other than cry. Sometimes those laughs are rip roaring belly laughs that make you glad you get to be a first string player in the game of parenting.

In kindergarten you know your letters but you haven't necessarily learned to use them in words. My kindergartener can read a few small words like: me, hit, or to. She has not mastered bigger words such as: Diminutive expressions are often superior.

Occasionally she will look for things to spell. For instance she wanted to write a story about a hyena name Pinduly who is the main character of one of her favorite books. She likes to look at the title words and then copy them in her own journal. The world of words has now been open to her...Although if it doesn't rhyme with 'cat' she usually doesn't have a clue what she is spelling.

So when she came home last week with hurt feelings and a sad look in her eye I wondered what was going on. She told me that she had been in the painting "center" in her class and when the teacher took her art work down she laughed and then she showed it to the teachers assistant and she laughed too. Honestly, I kind of blew it off by changing the subject and , ashamedly, offering her a chocolate chip cookie.

However when she got home she cleaned out her back pack and opened her beautiful piece of art. Austin took one look at it and burst out laughing, which didn't help the situation. I took a gander at the entertaining illustration and began to explain to The Girl what was going on. She then joined her brother on the floor in a round of raucous laughter.

One of the great things about the kindergarten classroom is that it has labels for everything from the pencil holders to, yes, the bathroom where on the door hangs a plaque with bold letters spelling:


Another fit of laughter came this afternoon. The Girl was looking peacefully pensive. I asked her "What are you thinking about?"

To which she honestly replied, "My future husband."

Finally (although not at all the end), last night I had made enchiladas for dinner. The kids aren't always happy about enchiladas but occasionally I choose to make what is pleasing to a grown up palette and the kids have to eat it because they can't cook.

She then looked at her enchiladas and said she didn't really like them. To which a told her that I was sorry but to eat it anyway...

She was quiet for several minutes as she poked at her food with a fork.

Then she burst out with a sentence that I hope I remember if I am ever served a meal I don't particularly like:

"I can't believe baby penguins eat their mother's throw up!"

She then proceeded to eat her enchiladas.

The days may be tiring. They may often be tedious. They are almost always routine.

But they are very rarely dull.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bloggers Block

I do all the right things....

I take vitamins, I exercise, I wash my hands more than people with OCD...and yet I have caught another case of the sniffles.

This would be the 4th time I have caught a cold since August...

Let me make this announcement:


I don't have time.

But apparently this year is the exception.

And when I don't feel well I have trouble writing.

And breathing.

And sleeping.

But let's think about some good news....

I am again an Aunt.

I have a new niece who was born a week ago. She is precious!

More good news...There is chocolate ice cream in my fridge...It's good for the throat.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


In October my friend Jen gave me a gift bag full of birthday gifts. This was one of them:

Then for Christmas my friend Lara sent me this:

Then this morning I was talking to Lara and she say's in reference to the beginning of our friendship: "I remember thinking to myself 'Man!, that girl drinks a lot of coffee.'"

Well...I had an epiphany this morning! After I got off the phone with her I went to pour another cup of coffee and next to my pot was the little wall hanging pictured above.

It occurred to me that it isn't entirely my fault that I am a large consumer of that awesome warm decoction...

I have a lot of good friends!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I'll Take The Raisin Bran..Hold the Raisins

In August I had decided I was going to clip coupons in an attempt to shave off some of the expense of feeding my family. I really gave it a valiant effort and did keep up with it until December 1st. It just doesn't work out for our family...I ended up buying a bunch of food that my family doesn't ever eat, and although it was fun to come out of the store having saved 50% off the total bill it didn't make sense because much of that food was left sitting on the pantry shelf.

For instance, sometime in early October I bought a box of Raisin Bran. The kids turned their noses up and the Mister said he would stick to his old Cheerios stand-by. So the job of consuming that box was up to me.

Here's the deal, I actually enjoy Raisin Bran...I just don't like the raisin part. It isn't that I don't think raisins are a fine source of iron and fiber, and blah, blah, blah...I just don't care for them. So the task of eating Raisin Bran became a chore because I would pour cereal into my bowl in little bits with one hand, while picking out the raisins one-by-one with the other.

As I sat at the table eating and reading the cereal box I thought it was ironic that in big letters splashed across the top it said "25% More raisins!". Yes, I know...why couldn't they do that with Lucky Charms when I was a kid...It would have been fabulous with 25% more marshmallows.

So, Raisin Bran , although a bargain at $1.50 (after the store card and coupon) ended up taking a lot of space on my shelf, and in the long run wastes precious resources...just think of those poor depressed grapes that get picked out and thrown away!

It has taken me 3 months to get through that box of cereal because one of the requirements of breakfast is that it should be quick and E-A-S-Y . It shouldn't require too much thought, to many gadgets or to many "steps". Oh...and it should also taste good, be nutritious, and make me not feel hungry until noon.

Unless there is a coupon for Pop-Tarts (with a strong cup of coffee). Then the rules change.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Random Poll

Every once in awhile in TX I would come to coffee with a "Random Poll" Question. For instance I was curious once if my friends washed their feet every time they showered or only once or twice a month. This led to some silly conversation, but also helped me to know who I was going to borrow shoes from...Although it turned out that nobody else in my circle of friends have enormous feet like me.

I miss the "Random Poll" and decided I could incorporate it into La Vida Dulce.

Today's Random Poll was brought on by my son this morning when he asked for breakfast. He wanted a bagel cut in half and toasted....but he only wanted the top. This was OK...Because The Girl only wanted the bottom half.

If you have to split a bagel with a friend which half do you take, the top or the bottom? Maybe you prefer an English muffin? Do they have differentiated sides or all sides created equal?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Once You Start You Can't Stop...

I was thinking this morning...

I washed my hair with shampoo and conditioner, then sprayed it with leave-in-conditioner, added mousse to the roots and hair "goo" to the ends, I am told this will make my hair shiny and supple, not dry like straw.

After the application of the hair product I put moisturizer on my face, applied under-the-eye cream, concealer, and lip balm, an attempt to keep my face moist. Then I realized that my hands, elbow and arms were dry, so it was time to find the lotion.

After completely drying my hair I had to spend 15 minutes just putting away all the stuff I had to pull out. It seems the older you get the more creams and lotions it takes to just keep you from cracking. I am not talking about warding off wrinkles here...I am talking about just looking "natural". This of course is the winter-time routine...the summer one is worse because it requires sunscreen too. It never seems to stop.

During this entire routine I was thinking about the year I was in 6th grade and asked my mom if I could shave my legs. She consulted that Woman's Handbook that women have in their heads (but of whom no one owns a hard copy) where it says that after a certain age you may tell your daughter she can shave her legs, but as a women of the human race your are required to give this warning: "Once you start, you can't stop."

There are many other things that must not be in the handbook, because they have caught me by surprise. I think I should write an entire section for the Woman's Handbook that has a chapter like this:

Warnings on getting older: The 30's... Every part of you will get dry. You will be required to purchase all sorts of face creams and potions just to keep you from shriveling like a raisin. You may buy these products in any smell according to your preference but be warned...some smells don't mix. It will take you 2 hours to get ready from start to finish unless you forget to dry your hair and go out with a wet head. In which case you will have a really, really bad hair day. When you reach your 30's your hair is tired so you must use product that makes it look....well...younger. Oh, by the way...Once you start you can't stop.

Also in this book:

Chocolate: A Staple Through the Ages: You were given chocolate as a child when you didn't appreciate it. You ate it through your teen age years when you actually had too much moisture in your face and it gave you acne. In your 20's you learned about the emotional value of that precious commodity. But now, in the teachable 30's, you know...Once you start you can't stop.

There are many other chapters we could add to the 30's section of the Womans Handbook. But at this point I have only 3 years tucked under my belt in this catergory...and I have a long list of things that always need doing...for example the never ending pile of laundry that must be faced today or I may have to send my sweet family to school and work wrapped in paper towels and scotch tape.

Laundry...yet another thing that --Once you start you can't stop.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Closet Cleaner

I wish I could confess that I am the best housekeeper in the world.

I do like a clean house, and there are some things I do "just so". I could tell you my housekeeping efforts are all about having a beautiful house that is pristine and always clean... but just between you and me, it's more about power! and control! (said gleefully with a look of intrigue... and perfectly waxed eyebrows)

How do I know this? Well, I remember the day (not so long ago) I came home and that sweet man of mine had rotated the silverware holder to the right 90 degrees, just so you didn't have to reach way into the drawer to grab a butter knife: "It's hard on the hand"says he.

I wouldn't say I had a conniption, but I wasn't real sweet either. I vaguely remember saying something about the kitchen being "mine" and "how would he like it if I came to his work and re-arranged his desk?"...I did eventually acquiesce and see things from his point of view...but it took a couple of days to not mutter under my breath when I went to make toast.

He would also say I have "laundry issues." I would call it "organization". I would say that they have to be folded a certain way so that all those clean, fluffy towels all fit into the cupboard correctly, and also, they should be color coordinated... so when you open the linen closet it looks nice. Because you never know who might knock on your door at any minute and run up the stairs and open up your linen closet in need of a towel folded the "right" way.

It doesn't matter that under the towel shelf (in that same closet) is the blanket shelf, which is overflowing and a complete disaster (not to mention not color-coordinated). It is so out of order that you have to push really hard to get the closet to completely close. However, for some reason in the winter months, I can let this go...mostly because that shelf is on eye level with my children who decide each night that they are cold...and each morning they re-decide that that blanket didn't work, and should try out a new one. Somewhere in "the mind of Kellie" I decided if a task looks too hard to gain control of the best course of action is to simply ignore it. Maybe someone will magically appear and clean it...or maybe one day you will accidentally make your coffee way to strong and have a caffeinated surge of energy that creates a "fantastic idea" to get those blankets back to it's color-coded glory. Of course these things always lend itself to more work...Cause you can't possibly just do one shelf...you'd have to organize the whole thing...this is why it is best to just ignore it.

However somethings you can't ignore...even if you try real hard. Yesterday I cleaned the fridge. Something had died in there. I had waited a couple of days in hopes that the box of Arm N Hammer would do the job I hired it to do, but there wasn't enough arm to hammer that stench. I couldn't find anything that was causing this odor, but when I was done it smelled more like a fridge-a-daire ought to...

This morning the coffee was so good I was glad I made half a pot. I always make a half a pot, but usually only drink 9/10ths of it. This half-pot habit is from the good ole Texas days when 4 out of 5 days of the week I would share that pot with a friend. After I drank the coffee (which is really only three cups worth) I had a "fantastic idea."

Honestly, it was planted there by one of my Texas coffee "regulars" when she mentioned yesterday that she had done a complete overhaul of her downstairs but still needed to get to organize that dreaded under-the-stairs-closet.

The closet under my stairs had needed to be cleaned out since the day after we unpacked the moving boxes almost one year ago. It had become the place I threw things that I didn't want to deal with, from arts and crafts stuff and unopened bank statements (yikes!) to that one afternoon last year when we came home from the last day of school with two huge brown paper bags filled with the contents of a 7 year olds desk...quite frankly I am surprised we didn't have a stench there too.

Why is it that projects always seem so fun when you start? But when you get that closet unloaded and out on your family room floor you begin to wonder why in the world this idea sounded so "fantastic". I found myself having thoughts like "This is some great Spring Cleaning...too bad spring won't be here for another three months, by then you will have to do this all over again."

I separated all the crayons from the markers and pencils and gel pens and put them in separate boxes and got out my label maker machine and labeled each box accordingly (this didn't work so well when the kids didn't know how to read). Nobody actually reads those labels but me....but it makes me feel hopeful, plus when people come over it gives the appearance that your organized. Even though the truth is if you open the door any other day you are taking your life into your own hands.

Now, three hours later, I have completely re-organized the arts and crafts closet/storage unit/pit. It took me so long that the coffee buzz had worn off and I had to start in on the Diet Coke to finish.

Now, for about two hours before anyone comes home I can sit there and enjoy how everything is in it's place. Color-coded, labeled, and may I say, oh-so-beautiful. Of course this is alot like a wedding or a thanksgiving meal: what took hours to fix can be (and will be) undone so fast you can't see it happening with the naked eye.

Hmm...do I feel like re-arranging that blanket shelf...

Nope, it smells fine and I can still get the door closed...I'll just ignore it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year

Whew! The last of the Christmas boxes have been put away for another year!

I seem to be suffering from a bit of writers block. Of course it could be because I am still busy trying to think of resolutions to make for the New Year...Or maybe it is because I can't type and try to fold laundry load #7 of 2006 at the same time.

I will tell you a story I have saved for such a time as this...

One day last summer on a warm afternoon I learned I must always choose my words wisely. Even if only in a quick and informal conversation.

I was talking to my neighbor and her college aged daughter. I had just purchased a new pair of shoes. When we were talking she mentioned that she wanted to find some new shoes for the beach. This is where I burst out a statement that I will never again do in public: "I just bought a new pair of thongs for $15 bucks at Costco!"

My neighbor and her daughter looked at me with eyes that told me something was desperately wrong...except it took me a few seconds to register what it was...this is when I practically shouted "Flip Flops! Flip Flops! I bought a pair of Flip flops!"